Scottish government under fire as housing crisis deepens

Scottish government under fire as housing crisis deepens

0:02 AM, 29th February 2024, About 4 months ago 9

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A housing charity has accused the Scottish government of “gaslighting” the Scottish public on social housing.

Shelter Scotland has claimed the “gaslighting refers to the Scottish government breaking rules relating to duties towards homeless households and misleading the public on figures related to social housing.

The row comes after a vote was passed on the 2024-2025 Scottish budget which cut services to the affordable housing supply programme.

Scottish government’s strategies for housing and homelessness are failing

According to Shelter Scotland, new figures reveal a sharp increase in instances of “gatekeeping,” where households in need of temporary accommodation are not provided with a place.

Between April 1st and September 30th, 2023, there were 1,575 reported cases, marking a staggering 1,400% rise compared to the previous six months.

The figures also reveal 2,335 breaches of the Unsuitable Accommodation Order between 1st April and 30th September 2023 – a 19% increase compared to the previous six months.

Shelter Scotland director, Alison Watson, said: “The Scottish government’s strategies for housing and homelessness are failing and any attempt to say otherwise is starting to feel like an attempt to gaslight the Scottish public.

“The Scottish government can’t claim to be determined to fight poverty while presiding over record homelessness, repeatedly deprioritising housing in its spending choices, and ploughing ahead with a strategy which today’s figures once again clearly show isn’t working.

“Local authorities are breaking the law on an industrial scale every day and yet there’s no new plans, no new money, and no new leadership to meet the scale of the emergency.”

People in Scotland are being denied their housing rights

New figures reveal a record-breaking surge in the number of households living in temporary accommodation across Scotland. A record 15,625 households are currently in temporary accommodation in Scotland.

The charity is calling on councils and Scottish Ministers to declare a housing emergency and implement a new emergency plan to reduce the number of people in temporary accommodation.

Shelter Scotland has also warned that continuing with the existing strategies will only result in more of the same and called for a new national housing emergency plan that prioritises people’s rights and increasing the number of homes for social rent.

Ms Watson adds: “People in Scotland are being denied their housing rights as a matter of course. Indeed, there’s good reason to believe based on the clients we’ve supported that these figures underestimate the true extent of the problem.

“It’s hard to imagine any other area of the law where the Scottish government would tolerate such flagrant and frequent law breaking but that’s what is happening when it comes to housing.

“The ongoing housing emergency in Scotland was not inevitable, it is a result of poor political choices and serious mismanagement across every tier of government. Anyone who backed that budget can’t expect to be taken seriously in the future when they claim they’re fighting homelessness.”

Focused on dealing with housing crisis

Scottish Housing Minister Paul McLennan told Scottish Housing News: “These figures are sobering and demonstrate the challenge we face in tackling homelessness, which has been made worse by UK government’s Local Housing Allowance Freeze, cuts to the Scottish government’s budget and the bedroom tax.

“Despite this, Scotland continues to have the strongest rights anywhere in the UK for anyone who becomes homeless, but we are determined to ensure no one need become homeless in the first place and ensure people can stay in their homes.

“I regularly engage with Scotland’s local authorities and work with them find solutions to the housing pressures they are facing. The Scottish government is doing all it can by making record funding available to councils of more than £14 billion in 2024-25 – a real-terms increase of 4.3% compared with the previous year. This includes £30.5m to local authorities to support their work to prevent homelessness, plus £90.5m to spend on discretionary housing payments. We are also investing £100m in the multi-year ending homelessness together fund.”

He adds the emergency rent cap helped protect tenants during the cost-of-living crisis.

He said: “The figures show the introduction of emergency legislation to protect tenants during the cost of living crisis has likely reduced the number of private renters from becoming homeless. When the emergency legislation comes to an end from 31 March we have outlined proposals to continue to give tenants stronger rights than anywhere else in the UK.

“As part of our £752m Affordable Housing Supply Programme we are investing at least £60m in 2023-24 to enable local authorities and registered social landlords to identify properties to acquire for use as high quality, affordable, permanent homes. We are working closely with them to maximise delivery by the end of this financial year.”


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Comments

Paul Essex

9:03 AM, 29th February 2024, About 4 months ago

If only someone had warned them that abusing landlords would lead to this.
It is unbelievable that Shelter helps to cause the problem then blames others for not sorting the problems of their own creation.

Barbaracus

9:52 AM, 29th February 2024, About 4 months ago

Shelter 2017: Landlords are evil, regulate and penalize them for being capitalist money grabbing scum.

SNP Oblige. Laws passed

Shelter 2024: There are record number of homelessness. Rents are too high. There aren't enough properties available to rent. Blame the SNP.

kevin smith

10:27 AM, 29th February 2024, About 4 months ago

I work in a Council in Scotland and its a disgrace that we have to tell tenants to ignore eviction notices from good decent Landlord's to give us many more time to find decent housing and the Landlord suffers in between and a lot are selling there properties as they are demonised 90% of Landlords have 1-5 properties and don't earn a fortune the SNP/GREENS are mostly to blame as they blame Landlords for there own failings am afraid to say .

LordOf TheManor

15:57 PM, 29th February 2024, About 4 months ago

Kevin

Thank you for your honesty & telling it as it is from the front line.

It must be very stressful for the civil servants in public facing roles to know that the situation created by 'our betters' won't help those sitting in front of them.

All the worse knowing that the situation cannot get any better. A quart never did fit into a pint mug, did it?

GlanACC

17:18 PM, 29th February 2024, About 4 months ago

and it is the Scottish government policy that they are in favour of more immigration.

Mr Blueberry

8:27 AM, 1st March 2024, About 4 months ago

It seems the government has failed tenants, failed landlords, failed homelessness and now failed the charities they financially support.

Michael Booth

11:24 AM, 1st March 2024, About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by kevin smith at 29/02/2024 - 10:27
Well well well snp your rent cap strategy has worked well l see , you were told what would happen and chose to ignore the evidence due your political idiology WHAT DONT YOU GET RENT CAPS DONT WORK ,DEMONISING PRIVATE LANDLORDS DOESNT WORK, SELECTIVE INTERFERENCE DOESNT WORK ONLY INSANE PEOPLE DO THE SAME THING ALL THE TIME AND EXPECT A DIFFERENT RESULT WAKE UP SNP.

GlanACC

11:32 AM, 1st March 2024, About 4 months ago

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Einstein

Lomondhomes

12:55 PM, 1st March 2024, About 4 months ago

Had 12 letting properties. For 25 years everybody happy. Then government and councils got involved.......selling fast. Down to 8. More to go including those infortunately who have been in as long as 20 years. Thanks governments, Thanks councils, Thanks Shelter!

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